By Lord Robbins
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As expounded weekly in the New Age in the pungent editorial notes of A. R. Orage, it had all the force of apparently obvious truth. I became a complete convert: the vision of the future involved doubtless satisfied something which had been left hungry since the falling away of my belief in the Christian religion. I joined the National Guilds League. I listened, green with envy, to the doctrinal exposition of G. D. H. Cole, the Saint-Just of the movement, whose apparently effortless command of his subject and superiority of manner seemed to me, at that time quite unacquainted with this kind of university product, to be beyond the ambition of any ordinary mortal to achieve.
He had no objection in principle to other occupations: indeed he would very much have liked to see me go to the Bar. But my new intentions were different, and so was the attendant ideology. He had made every penny of his money himself and he could not see why I regarded this as evil. He was deeply concerned with the welfare of the poor and an enthusiastic supporter of the social policy of the great reforming Government of 1906-15. But he did not believe that his very up-to-date business could be run by an assembly of farm workers.
D. H. Cole. The leading ideas here had a double aspect: they show at once a revulsion from the state socialism of the Fabians and a strong attraction to the ideology of French syndicalism. State socialism was disliked on the ground that it left the common man more or less in the same position as he occupied under capitalism, a mere employee exploited by the state machine instead of by the private employer. Against this, syndicalism, which gave the ownership and control of the means of production to the producers, restored him to this proper role and, according to exponents such as Georges Sorel, would restore to modem life the dignity and purity of standards which had vanished from the world.